What we do

Gender and forestry research

East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga/CIFOR

Gender relations permeate the politics and economics of natural resource management:

  • Women’s access and property rights to forest, tree and land resources are often insecure, and in many instances, women’s participation in decision-making regarding the management of forest resources is limited.
  • Collecting fuel wood, medicinal plants and other non-timber forests products is often seen as a female task, whereas men often dominate more economically lucrative areas of forestry.
  • Gender-unequal institutional arrangements are often embedded in existing gender relations, a result of discriminatory state policies, customary practices, and market systems.
  • While propagating for gender equality is first and foremost an issue of rights, gender inequality has also proven a major barrier to reaching sustainable environmental goals.

A lack of attention to gender by policy makers and practitioners risks not meeting environmental targets and causing adverse impacts for women. Carefully drafted gender-sensitive policies and interventions could help transform unequal gender relations in forested landscapes.

Gender at CIFOR

CIFOR is uniquely placed to have a key role in this new agenda. We aim to develop the body of knowledge and expertise required to inform policy makers and implementing agencies by conducting research that can bring about gender-equitable policies and practices that affect forests and forest-dependent communities in developing countries.

In 2013, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which CIFOR leads alongside ICRAF, Bioversity International, CIAT and CATIE adopted a gender strategy. Its goal is to increase the volume of gender-specific research and integrate gender into all relevant research, gaining “increased control over resources and participation in decision-making by women and other marginalized groups.”

Gender is a high institutional priority for CIFOR, and is considered as a cross-cutting theme through all of our research. CIFOR’s gender integration team works alongside CIFOR scientists to ensure gender is firmly rooted in CIFOR’s programs. In particular, the gender team provides support via:

  • Manuals and tools for integrating gender across the research cycle
  • Targeted methodological and analytical support to research teams within all five FTA flagship programs
  • Gender-sensitive indicators for monitoring and evaluation
  • Sharing research findings, good practices and policy lessons within and outside CIFOR
  • Establishing gender-sensitive partnerships and engaging in networks to ensure that research contributes to development outcomes and impacts that are empowering for marginalized women and men.